Read Les Annales de la Compagnie noire, Intégrale 4 by Glen Cook Free Online
Book Title: Les Annales de la Compagnie noire, Intégrale 4|
The author of the book: Glen Cook
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 498 KB
Edition: J'ai Lu
Date of issue: September 7th 2016
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Read full description of the books Les Annales de la Compagnie noire, Intégrale 4:This is my review for not just this omnibus edition consisting of the last two books, but for the entire series.
In the beginning, there was the Black Company. In the end, the Black Company remains, relentless and unyielding, refusing to surrender to the jaws of death.
If you’re actually intending to read all of this, then I would urge you to pour a cup of coffee or tea and make yourself comfortable. This will be the longest review I’ve written, complete with tons of quotes to make it even longer. Still not dissuaded? Well then, in my very last review of the Chronicles of the Black Company, let me indulge in my passion for storytelling and begin by telling you a little story...
In those days the Company was in service to the Syndic of Beryl...
- The Black Company
Once upon a time in the city of Beryl in the north, the tale of the last of the Free Companies of Khatovar began. To me it feels like an eternity has passed since those days. Since the days when Croaker was the Company physician, Lady was the dark sorceress with supreme power over the world’s greatest empire, and fabled Khatovar was just a distant dream.
Like an avalanche of memories, the tale grew in the telling. The Black Company was recruited by the villainous Soulcatcher. It fought alongside the Ten Who Were Taken, the most powerful wizards of their time. It stood against the Dominator, the darkest shadow ever to fall upon the world. It became an instrument for the fulfilment of the prophecy of the White Rose. And it journeyed south to find its roots in the lost city of Khatovar. All the while people lived and died, new members joined and rose in the ranks, and the Company went ever onward.
The books must be written. The truth must be recorded even if fate decrees that no man ever reads a word I write. The Annals are the soul of the Black Company. They recall that this is who we are. That this is who we were. That we persevere. And that treachery, as it ever has, failed to suck the last drop of our blood.
- Water Sleeps
Even though the Black Company is led by a Captain, at its heart there is always an Annalist. Some of them get appointed to the job while others take it upon themselves in times of crisis. The style of the series changes for each one. There are those who value writing long sentences and beautiful words, and there are those who insist on merely recounting facts in a direct manner. All are different, and all provide a different touch to the Annals they leave behind.
The one thing that all the books have in common, is that they are written from the viewpoint of a soldier, a member of a mercenary company in the service of whoever pays the most. And that is the greatest achievement of Glen Cook in writing this series; the fact that you get a fantasy series written not about larger-than life heroes and the classical clichéd archetypes of the genre, but about ordinary people struggling to get by in a world of darkness and despair. Steven Erikson, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, once stated that Glen Cook was the first fantasy author to bring the story down to a truly human level.
When it comes to the actual writing, these books are written exactly the way you would expect from the Annals of a mercenary company. There is little of the eloquence and grandeur found in the books of authors like J. R. R. Tolkien and Guy Gavriel Kay. There is mostly directness and simplicity, but there is also a lot of beauty to be found in that simplicity if you know where to look. And like this review is an example of, there are dozens of great quotes to be found while turning the pages.
An old, tired man. That is what I am. What became of the old fire, drive, ambition? There were dreams once upon a time, dreams now all but forgotten. On sad days I dust them off and fondle them nostalgically, with a patronizing wonder at the naivete of the youth who dreamed them.
- The White Rose
The Chronicles of the Black Company was always Croaker’s tale. Other members of the Company have taken up the annalist’s pen from time to time, and one might argue that the protagonist of the series is the Black Company itself, but the most important character was always Croaker. He began in the first volume as the young and rash Company physician and annalist whose love for a wicked sorceress came to fruition. He later turned into a brilliant strategist and a military dictator, and in the end he goes back to his former role, and scribbles down the final volume of this wondrous story. The nostalgia is almost overwhelming.
Croaker, however, is not the character that truly made me love this series. That award goes to Lady. The Lady of the Tower. Her journey is even more astonishing than that of Croaker. Hundreds of years ago, long before the Black Company was even formed, Lady was the wife of the Dominator, the tyrannic ruler of the North and the original master of the Ten Who Were Taken. She was defeated and buried alive along with her husband long ago, but when a band of cultists tried to revive them both she betrayed him, left him in his dark tomb, and seized all power for herself. The most powerful sorceress ever to walk upon the earth, she rules her empire with an iron fist and sees everything with the Eye of Truth. Until the Black Company arrives, and her life is changed forever.
Death and despair are what we endure all our lives. This world is all one of pain and loss illuminated only briefly by moments of happiness and wonder. We must live for those times, not bemoan their passing.
- She Is the Darkness
The relationship between Croaker and Lady was probably one of my favourite aspects of this series (I’m probably a secret romantic somewhere deep inside). It starts out with a young physician creating sexual fantasies in his mind about the Company’s enigmatic mistress, but after decades of war and a common history, it grows into so much more. Direct and sometimes brutal, it fits the tone of the series particularly well, and in the end it is definitely among the most fascinating and rewarding love stories in the fantasy genre. So to those looking for romance, this series has that as well!
It would take lots of time to write about all the great characters this series has to offer, but with so many wonderful men and women, I would love for you all to get to know them at some point. Soulcatcher, the most powerful of the Ten Who Were Taken. Raven, the mysterious northern nobleman who murdered his own wife to join the Company. One-Eye and Goblin, the wizard friends who are constantly jabbing at each other. Mogaba, a high-ranking member of the warrior class of Gea-Xle. Darling, a mute farm girl with a great destiny. Narayan Singh, the living Saint of the Deceiver cult. There are heroes and villains and everything in between, and they all deserve your time.
Those who form it come and go but the Company is forever. Every brother, great or small, is a snack just not yet snapped up by the devouring maw of time.
- Bleak Seasons
The time of the old members of the Black Company is soon to come to an end. A new generation is being readied to take up the mantle and the banner of the skull. Those who made up the Black Company of old are either gone or old enough to retire from soldiery forever. But in the Annals of the the Black Company, where their deeds have been written down by masters of the craft, they will never be forgotten.
In the night, when the wind dies and silence rules the place of glittering stone, I remember. And they all live again.
- Soldiers Live
Well then, a question arises. After all the three and four-star ratings for the separate books (there was even a two-star rating), how can I possibly justify giving five solid stars to the series as a whole? Have I just had a fit of irrational generosity? No, the thing is that I’ve decided to present the series with the only rating it deserves, instead of the rating I would have to give it if I were to pick the average of my book ratings. Each of the books can be considered a relatively small piece in a much greater puzzle, and in the end all the pieces come together, leaving a result that is surprisingly close to perfection despite the flaws of each individual piece.
The Chronicles of the Black Company is, in the end, one of my all-time favourite fantasy series. To be able to come along on the grand journeys of this ragged band of mercenaries has been a wonderful literary experience. These are not the most skillfully written books ever published. They do not have the most enchanting story either. There is just something about them. Something that makes me want more. Something that makes me want to read them again from the beginning as soon as possible. And that mysterious something is why I would not hesitate to call this series a true masterpiece, and an astounding achievement by a man who changed the fantasy genre forever.
That is all I have to say about this wonderful series. All that remains is to finish this review by giving you one final quote written by the great Croaker…
There were dreams. I remembered everyone who had gone before me. I remembered the places and times. Cold places, hot places, weird places, always stressful times, swollen with unhappiness, pain and fear. Some died. Some did not. It makes no sense when you try to figure it out. Soldiers live. And wonder why.
- Soldiers Live
This is one of two reviews I have done for this series. The introductory one can be found here.
Read information about the authorGlen Cook was born in New York City, lived in southern Indiana as a small child, then grew up in Northern California. After high school he served in the U.S. Navy and attended the University of Missouri. He worked for General Motors for 33 years, retiring some years ago. He started writing short stories in 7th grade, had several published in a high school literary magazine. He began writing with malicious intent to publish in 1968, eventually producing 51 books and a number of short fiction pieces.
He met his wife of 43 years while attending the Clarion Writer's Workshop in 1970. He has three sons (army officer, architect, orchestral musician) and numerous grandchildren, all of whom but one are female. He is best known for his Black Company series, which has appeared in 20+ languages worldwide. His other series include Dread Empire and and the Garrett, P.I. series. His latest work is Working God’s Mischief, fourth in the Instrumentalities of the Night series.
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